Spanning !

Thats 'spanning' not 'spamming' - although you could use Publisher for that too. I have been working with Pat, Tom and team at Emulex recently and they have had some interesting requirements coming up while they have been developing templates. Terms and Conditions on every even page was one - not a unique requirement but one we worked through and got working - before you ask - look out for that post next week.
Today we're talking spanning, they needed to allow their barcodes to span across columns. Like this:


Span1:


Notice the barcode is able to span across multiple columns as needed.


We can achieve this because the underlying XSL-FO cell definition has an attribute 'number-columns-spanned' - we can use this attribute to our advantage. If we need to allow the data to span at runtime we can override the spanning attribute in the template.


Span2:


The 'Span' field is placed in the same cell that you want to span, it contains the following:


<xsl:attribute xdofo:ctx="block" name="number-columns-spanned">3</xsl:attribute>


Just set the number of columns to be spanned. The xdofo:ctx specifies the override level - finding the level is sometimes requires a little trial and error - we're looking into that.


We can now get the output we wanted using the override method. Now, be careful, if you set a span level too high you'll push the layout all over the place.
It's worth  using the 'Tools > Export > XSLFO Stylesheet' function just to see what you can do. Sample files here.


Happy Spanning! 

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